AZ -- Petrified Forest Natl Park:
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- PET_000911_030.JPG: Agate House: A House of Gems
This structure, called Agate House, is a partial reconstruction of an Indian pueblo built here almost ten centuries ago. Indians built dwelling walls like these of petrified wood sealed with mud mortar. Archaeologists believe the original eight-room pueblo was built between AD 1050 and 1300.
The absence of a kiva (underground ceremonial chamber) and the relatively small amount of cultural debris found at Agate House indicate a brief occupancy. Reconstruction of its rooms occurred after archeological excavation in 1934.
- PET_000911_051.JPG: We're in the Painted Desert part of the park
- PET_000911_073.JPG: Petroglyphs. Notice modern day idiots have scratched their initials in here as well.
Drawings, called petroglyphs, pecked into these rocks allow a glimpse of the life and world of the people who farmed the Puerco River Valley 650 to 2,000 years ago. More than 650 rock art designs -- the largest concentration of petroglyphs in Petrified Forest National Park -- adorn the boulders than tumbled to rest below these cliffs.
The dark coating of the rock, called desert varnish, presented an inviting opportunity for creativity. Ancient artists produced many types of figures and patterns by carefully pecking the coated rock surfaces with sharpened tools to remove the desert varnish and expose the lighter rock beneath.
What do petroglyphs mean? No one knows for sure. We know that petroglyph styles changed over time, but their meaning remains a mystery. Even so, petroglyphs provide a valuable resource for studying past cultures.
Binoculars will help you examine the many varieties of animal, human, and geometric figures on Newspaper Rock.
- PET_000911_079.JPG: Life in the Plaza.
Puerco Pueblo stood one-story high, with 2 to 3 rows of connected rooms surrounding a central plaza. The village, inhabited from about AD 1250 to the late 1300s, housed a number of families. The nearby river provided the water that nourished plant and animal life necessary for this pueblo community.
The residents of Puerco Pueblo farmed the dry slopes below the village, growing cotton, corn, squash, and beans, while hunters sought game. Artisans created the decorated clay pots. On many days, the pueblo's protected plaza bustled with activity. Imagine the sounds of metates grinding corn, of stone tools being chipped into shape, of chants or songs from the kivas, and of children's laughter.
Eventually, the people of Puerco Pueblo left, joining with the ancestors of today's Hopi or perhaps Zuni people. Fragments of their buildings and tools, and their petroglyphs on nearby rocks, remain to tell us of their existence.
- AAA "Gem": AAA considers this location to be a "must see" point of interest. To see pictures of other areas that AAA considers to be Gems, click here.
- Wikipedia Description: Petrified Forest National Park
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Petrified Forest National Park is along Interstate 40 between Holbrook and Navajo, in the United States. It features one of the world's largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood, mostly of the species Araucarioxylon arizonicum.
The park consists of two large areas connected by a north–south corridor. The northern area encompasses part of the multihued badlands of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation called the Painted Desert. The southern area includes colorful terrain and several concentrations of petrified wood. Several American Indian petroglyph sites are also found in the southern area. Near the south end of the park is Agate House, a Native American building of petrified wood, reconstructed during the 1930s.
The Petrified Forest area was designated a National Monument on December 8, 1906. The Painted Desert was added later. On December 9, 1962, the whole monument was made a national park. It covers 218,533 acres (341.5 sq mi; 885 kmē). Hiking opportunities are limited: the longest established trail in the park extends for only two miles; the others are one mile (1.6 km) or less. Backcountry camping and hiking are allowed by permit only. A 28-mile (45 km) long road runs through much of the park. Landmarks include the Agate House, built of petrified wood, and the Agate Bridge, a petrified log spanning a wash.
Structures made of Petrified Wood
Structures made of Petrified Wood
The pieces of permineralized wood are fossil Araucariaceae, a family of trees that is extinct in the Northern Hemisphere but survives in isolated stands in the Southern Hemisphere. During the Late Triassic, this desert region was located in the tropics and was seasonally wet and dry. In seasonal flooding, the trees washed from where they grew and accumulated in sandy river channels, where they were buried periodically by layers of gravely sand, rich in volcanic ash from volcanoes further to the west. The volcanic ash was the source of the silica that helped to permineralize the buried logs, replacing wood with silica, colored with oxides of iron and manganese. Several major and many smaller concentrations of petrified wood occur in the park, corresponding to several stratigraphic intervals in the Sonsela Member and aptly named Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle Formation. The major concentrations have been termed "forests" (e.g. Rainbow Forest, Crystal Forest, Black Forest, etc.) although the vast majority of the fossil tree trunks are preserved in a prone position and have been transported at least some distance from their original growth areas. However, in-place stumps of trees do occur in several areas (not easily accessible to the casual visitor), and many of the logs probably did not travel far before burial.
The Chinle Formation at Petrified Forest National Park also has produced abundant fossil leaves, vertebrates (including giant crocodile-like reptiles called phytosaurs, large salamander-like amphibians called metoposaurs, some of the earliest dinosaur fossils from North America), and invertebrates (including freshwater snails and clams).
Much of the striking banded coloration of the Chinle Formation badlands that make up the Painted Desert region is due to soil formation (pedogenesis) during the Late Triassic. These paleosols (ancient soils) preserve evidence of conditions during the Triassic including the nature of the landscape and the paleoclimate. The Chinle paleosols suggest that the climate was dramatically seasonal, with distinct very wet and very dry seasons. This climate was probably similar to the modern monsoon of the Indian Ocean region, and was characteristic of tropical areas of Late Paleozoic and Early Mesozoic Earth when all the continents had assembled to form the supercontinent Pangaea.
Theft of petrified wood has remained a problem despite protection and despite the fact that nearby vendors sell wood collected legally from private land. Despite a guard force of seven National Park Service rangers, fences, warning signs, and the threat of a $275 fine, about 12 to 14 tons of the fossil wood disappears from the Petrified Forest every year.
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